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FAQs about Wet-Dry, Trickle Filter Operation/Maintenance, Repair

Related Articles: Trickle Filters, pt. 1 By Bob Goemans, Physical Filtration, Denitrification/Denitrifiers, Nitrates and Marine Systems

Related FAQs: Wet Dries 1, Wet Dries 2, Wet-Dries 3, Wet Dries 4, Selection, Set-Up, Pumps, Plumbing Issues, Bio-Balls FAQs, Bio-Ball, Wet-Dry Media 2, Other Filter/Media/Elements (other than bio-balls), Modification/Conversion,... Biological Filtration, Biofiltration 2, Fluidized Beds, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, PhosphatesDenitrification/Denitrifiers,

Spare/Replacement Pump -- 04/04/09
I Have a Pro Clear Aquatics Wet- Dry filter for my 75 gal tank. I would like to have a back-up submersible pump for the CAP 1800. Any suggestions?
<<Hmm'¦ A Mag-Drive 5 would make for a good backup to this system. But if you want the best re quality and reliability, go with the Eheim 1260. You could use the Eheim as your primary pump (install a gate-valve on the output-side of the pump to temper flow, if needed) and rest easy'¦and hold on to the CAP pump as the emergency backup, that you would likely not need for many years>>
Thanks, Michael
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Can my Wet/Dry filter "hold its breath" 5/1/08 Will the bacterial colony living on the Bio-Balls in my wet/dry filter be damaged or reduced by being submerged for a few hours? <The bioballs will be fine so long as they are not in a sealed container.> It's a 50 gallon temperate marine tank (60 degree F) with five gallons of Bio-Balls, an AquaC Remora skimmer, 4' DSB, a bimac octopus, a bat star, and a red spotted sea anemone. My wet/dry is built into my tank and when the return pump turns off (during tank feeding or power failure) enough water slowly back-flows through the return pump to mostly fill the wet/dry and submerge the bio balls. I have a battery powered air pump that will run an airstone in the submerged wet/dry, and in the tank, during a power failure. <Good, oxygen in the water is what you need to keep your biofiltration alive.> How long could my wet/dry go submerged, with an airstone running, before suffering significant damage? <A few hours.> I could remove all the water, and Bio-Balls, and install a check valve, but I'd rather avoid that headache unless it is necessary to protect my bacterial colony. <You are better off having the bioballs submerged than drying out.> Thanks for all the great advice!! <Welcome, have fun, Scott V.>

Re: bubbles in my sand bed... and now Eheim W/Ds Thank you for the response, I will be more patient. I do however have one more question. You raised a possible issue with my Eheim Wet/dry, to correct this would you recommend capping the breathing tube to change the filtration method to continuous filtration verses a wet/dry filtration. <Mmm, no... or at least, not necessarily... To be straight-forward... as much as practical, here... I am not a fan of this Eheim product... it and their powered gravel washers are clunkers... If it were me, my decision, I'd pull them... You may be fine operating the wet-dry with or w/o aspiration. If w/o, I'd add some form of mixed-aerobic media like Siporax...> In the manual it states to do this when removing additives to the tank, so it can be done. Thank you. <Yes... Cheers, BobF>  

Wet/Dry Filter...Future Flooding 8/30/07 Dear Bob, <James with you today.> I have researched as much as I can to try to find the answer to this, and I am simply stumped. Below is an image of a tank I bought off craigslist and, along with a Wet/Dry filtration system. I am (more than likely) going to make this a cichlid tank, or maybe a FO saltwater, but either way I cannot figure something out... How does my WET DRY not flood my floors in case of a power outage? I live in FL, Tampa Bay, with frequent storms, and from the setup below it seems that if the pump stopped flowing, gravity would force 1/2 the tanks water, 25 gallons, into the sump, which is not sealed, and has an open part designed for a protein skimmer, and thus would overflow... am I wrong? <You are wrong my friend. It appears you have a piece of glass glued into this corner. The water overflows over the top of the glass then into the intake. In the event of a power failure where the pump would stop, no more water would be pumped into the tank. If the glass partition is leak proof, no overflowing should occur. You may want to put a check valve in the return line to prevent back siphoning in the event of a power failure. I always drill a 3/16 hole in the top of my return line and glue a piece of rigid air line tubing into it and keep the tube slightly below the surface of the water. If the pump stops, water will drain to that point and once air enters the line, the siphon will break. This protects you in the event debris gets into the check valve and prevents a tight seal from occurring when the poppet drops in the check valve. I have a very similar set-up in my reef tank and have had no problems with it. James (Salty Dog)> Please let me know if you have any other information. My initial thought is to find some additional tubing for the intake inside the tank.

Re: Wet/Dry Filter...Future Flooding 9/2/07 The corner is NOT separated by glass, but a piece of black plastic, which has holes up ton and apparently near the bottom as well, but I guess that is the design. I am not sure. <Geez, can you send a pic or two looking at this corner.> I think I understand what you mean, but I was actually interested in making a Durso (sp?) valve along these lines... would you recommend it: <Yes, if the face is not glued to the glass of the tank, you will definitely need to get that intake up much higher than what it is now. Do seriously consider the check valve and other fix I suggested. James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Wet/Dry Filter...Future Flooding 9/5/07 After a weekend of trial and error, I've made a Durso standpipe and modified my tubing under tank with flexible clear tubing and got an acceptable level of noise. My focus now is getting fish into the tank, and eventually I will work on quieting it down a bit more. I did drill a hole in my return valve, and since we had a power failure yesterday, I was able to test the system and all was fine! <Great.> My only problem now is still a bit of cloudiness, but I wonder if it's from a super oxygenated tank, considering I have a powerhead on the right side over an under gravel filter, and the wet dry system. The wet dry drops into floss filter, and then bioballs, and then through a filter I pulled from an existing tank to help get bacterias growing. <You really do not need this additional filter.> My father who was helping, insisted on the undergravel filter, to the point of going out and purchasing the entire thing, insisting that with the wet dry and the UGF I wont have to worry about the dead spots of a normal UGF. Your thoughts? <UGF's in my opinion are maintenance nightmares and they are not necessary in a system such as yours. The gravel/sand will have to be vacuumed during water changes, or the filter will become a nitrate factory.> One more question... My wife wants a Gold Severum, but I cant find any interesting inhabitants to go with one? Any suggestions? I saw a beautiful and mild Flowerhorn, but I don't really want to have these fish considering their... background! <Geez, there are so many fish to consider that I just do not have to time to research. A few would be barbs, Corys, angelfish, danios, etc. James (Salty Dog)>

How can I clean my bio balls??? Understanding causes from effects, circumstances  - 08/11/07 Hi again. I have had brown slime algae & the hair algae is starting to come out & its really stressing me out. I think its coming from my bio balls. <Mmm, no... Whatever conditions themselves that are allowing, fostering such growth, are doing the same with the plastic biomedia... not the other way around> I cant seem to find how to clean my bio balls, all I see is I should get rid of them. The problem is that my LFS's don't have them here where I live, which is Bahrain. Unless you know who ships international? or if its possible for myself to get rocks out of the sea here & cure them since I live on an island. The salinity is very high here. I have turned my old 52 gallon tank into a refugium which I am housing 2 types of algae, not sure of their type,1 is reddish maroon & the other is green. My main tank is 190 gallon & I also have a 25 gallon sump. I hope I didn't forget anything :-/ Ghulam. <They can be cleaned, likely even removed entirely... But the "material" issue won't be solved thus... that is, the BGA et al. will simply return (and soon) w/o correcting the circumstances... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bioballfaqs.htm and the linked files above, and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Del Ray 125... 1 1/4" hose replacement   3/4/07 I have a Del Ray filter for my 80 gallon fresh water tank.   The flexible tubing that connects the filter to the tank has cracked and is  leaking.  I cannot find the tubing locally.  The 1.25 inch tubing is 3  feet long.  Any suggestions. Thank you  Dave <Mmm, yes... do check with the large hardware stores (Home Depot, Lowe's...) and if they don't have (sometimes do carry up to this diameter), check out your "Yellow Pages" for a pool supply (maybe a wholesaler... they'll direct you on how to have some intermediate help you...) to supply you with a replacement. Bob Fenner> My Eheim 2227 Wet'n'Dry is causing a micro bubble problem     2/23/07 Hi Guys! <Greg> I have a new 6'x2'x2' fresh water setup currently in its 3rd week of cycling, and I've noticed that my Eheim 2227 Wet'n'Dry canister filter produces a lot of micro bubbles. <Mmm... even Toyota has made them "clunkers" in its time... this one (of two or so), is Eheim's> This causes the water to look 'unclean' and I'm certain it won't be good for the fish which currently includes 9 Black Neon Tetras and 4 Cory Catfish. The tank is destined to become a home for Discus once it has fully cycled and settled down probably in another few weeks. <Nice!> Are the Eheim 2227/2229 Wet'n'Dry filters known to cause micro bubbles? Is this a major problem? Can it be corrected? <Are trouble... We could go back and forth here a bit/while... but in my usual (well, too-often) overly-direct M.O. I'll come straight out and state, "I'd return this filter"... and go with something (yes, even by Eheim...) else... A much larger (or two) canister filter itself likely...> I'm sure I have the filter configured correctly as I followed the setup instructions to the letter and the unit seems to be working as expected, with rising & falling water level etc. <Yes... have heard this all before... Have you written Eheim (DanielS in Canada) re?...> The other filter running on the tank from the other end is an Eheim 2228 and it does not have this issue. <A mighty fine product> Are the Eheim 2227/2229 Wet'n'Dry series filters duds? Would I be better with something else? <Yes, and yes> Any information would be appreciated. Regards, Greg Perth, Western Australia <You are not the first... I wish Eheim would pull these turkeys. Bob Fenner>

Re: My Eheim 2227 Wet'n'Dry is causing a micro bubble problem   2/24/07 Thanks Bob, <Welcome> You have confirmed my suspicions. I'm going to send the 2227 back and get another 2228 or perhaps step up to the Classic 2250. <You will be much happier, I assure you> Regards, Greg <BobF>

Eheim Wet/Dry filter  11/16/06 Hello, <Greetings, Michelle here.>  I have a 75 gallon tank with live rock, a few small fish and inverts.  I use an Aqua C Remora Pro skimmer and an Eheim 2227 Wet/Dry Filter.  I regularly change the water with RO water.  My problem is getting the phosphate and nitrate levels down to undetectable. They are currently high, nitrate - 30ppm, phosphate - 1ppm.  <Higher than desirable.>  I'm not sure if the Wet/Dry filter is contributing to the problem. I fill the trays with Ehfi substrate.  Should I only use it as a circulating water source with carbon?  <Carbon, with time, can also leach phosphates.>  I've read that this filter method is a nitrate factory.  <Yes, wet/dry filters typically are.>  I do like the water surge that it makes every 30 seconds.  My goal is to start adding some corals but I may have to use alternative filtration.  <I address this issue first.  I would remove the Ehfi substrate, and monitor levels before opening any new doors.>  Thank you for your time.  <You're welcome.> Michael

Wet/Dry Filter Water Height? - 03/18/06 Hi- <<Hello>> I just bought a wet/dry filter- called the ProClear SL 60.  The  LFS doesn't know much so I'm asking you guys. <<Might be time to find another LFS...>> How much of the bio-balls should be completely submerged in water? Right now only about 1/4 of the bio balls are completely submerged? Is this correct?  Should more bioballs be submerged completely? <<In a wet/dry filter the intent is to have the bio-media exposed to water AND air (wet/dry) to maximize oxygen availability to the nitrifying bacteria (air contains a higher concentration of oxygen than saltwater).  Most filters will be designed to submerge very little if any of the bio-media.  Your filter should have an "optimum" water level as determined by the manufacturer...lacking this, I would adjust the water level to the bottom of the bio-media chamber.>> Thanks a lot. <<Regards, EricR>>

Set-Up...Using Multiple Wet/Dry Filters  6/26/06 Good Day, Hope you are all well. <I'm as good as I can be.> Question: from a functionality point of view, what sorts of issues might one run into in using multiple trickle filters on a larger aquarium?  Things such as balancing input/output, etc..  Are there some best practices or is this typically not done due to complexity (I can also imagine one side going out and slowly filling up...) In any case, very curious as to history in this sort of thing. <Not a very good idea.  Each would need it's own pump and drain.  Problem here is that when one system goes down for whatever reason, the water level will lower to the bottom of the skimmer box or bulkhead.  This is going to cause a lack of water for the other system, and possibly a flood, and, if you are not home when this happens, you will more than likely be greeted by a burned out pump and a wet floor, and for sure, an irate wife if you are married.  James (Salty Dog)> Bill

Pro Clear Pro Wet/Dry 300 Filter   8/19/06 I just installed a new filter described above.  The water is circulating fine with the exception on a significant amount of bubbles coming out of the "bubble trap" located in the first section on the filter.  These are connected to the water intake.  Is this normal or do I need to adjust something? Thank you for your help. Adam <Mmm, sometimes when these units are new... I would wait a few days, see if all settles down. Otherwise there is an option of adding a layer of filter media on top of the upper bio-balls... though this presents more maintenance, issue of nitrate accumulation. Bob Fenner>

DSB/Wet-Dry/Nitrates - 08/28/06 Hi there! <<Hello!>> How are you all today! <<Don't know about the rest, but I'm doing fine, thank you>> I hope I am not bugging you with a repeat question. <<No worries my friend>> I have read thru all your FAQs on sand beds and am getting confused. <<Oh?>> There seems to be many contradictions and I really want to get it right. <<Indeed...differing methodologies/opinions...>> I have a 220 gallon setup that is about 8 months old.  I used 220 lbs of live rock to set it up as well as about 120 pounds of CaribSea live sand.  That gave about an inch of sand on the bottom. <<Ok>> I also have a wet-dry running and am not sure if this is necessary and will contribute to higher nitrates. <<The wet-dry filter is not necessary, or even desirous, if this is a reef system...but can be beneficial to a FOWLR, though these days my preference when additional bio-filtration is needed is to turn to a fluidized-bed filter>> My nitrates are around 50. <<Mmm, you have a problem then, in my opinion.  Nitrates should be <5ppm for a reef and <20ppm for a FOWLR>> I have an ASM G3 protein skimmer and a Blueline 40HDX pump.  After the first few months of losing several fish, my tank seems to be settled and I have had luck with my fish for the last 4 months without any casualties. <<Won't last with nitrate readings this high.  Though maybe not immediately evident, the high nitrate level will have/is having an effect on the fish and will cause problems/deaths in the long-term>> I'd like to get my nitrates to 0 and am wondering if I should increase the sand bed to at least 4 inches and get rid of the bio-balls. <<One approach>> I could also add some more live rock. <<Sounds like you have a lot of rock in there already>> Would you advise this or should I stick with my 1/2-1 inch sand bed (I lose some sand every week when I vacuum as it's fine sand)? <<I'm a fan of DSBs...I would try increasing the depth of the sand bed...and stop the weekly vacuuming as this will be counterproductive to the DSB.  If detritus accumulation is a concern, then increase water flow in the tank>> If I made it a DSB, how would I go about it with all the fish and live rock in there? <<Considering the current depth/weekly vacuuming, simply add the sand until you reach the new desired depth.  Pre-rinsing will help to reduce the associated cloudiness>> Can I purchase a different kind and put it on top? <<You can>> I would like to add some pink. <<Won't stay "pink"...I recommend a sugar-fine substrate, though you can go a bit larger if you wish (1mm-2mm)...or even go with a mix of these>> Also, would the LR need to be removed if I was adding 3 or 4 more inches? <<Nope...in fact, I prefer to place my live rock on the tank bottom and fill around it with the sand for better stability>> What about the fish? <<If you go to the trouble to pre-rinse the sand to reduce the "fines" suspended in the water column they should be fine.  If you wish, you could even add the sand in stages (a day or two apart)>> I really have no where else for them to go as it's a 220.  Maybe knowing my fish would help determine what sand bed is best for my tank.  I have a Bluefaced angel, a maroon clown, a purple and sailfin tang, a fairy wrasse, a Twinspot wrasse, a zebra moray and a few gobies.  Also 2 anemones and a couple starfish and hermit crabs. <<Yikes!  Anemones and 50ppm nitrates?  Maybe you should try testing with another brand of test kit (Salifert, Seachem) to validate this reading>> I have had a little trouble with red Cyanobacteria and have been physically suctioning it out every week as well as weekly water changes.  I can't get it all off the rock but do blow some of it off with a bulb syringe.  I was wondering if increasing the sand bed would help get rid of that as well as hair algae which I have a little of? <<The DSB will provide numerous benefits, one of which will be the reduction of nitrogenous compounds (algae fuels), but an increase in water circulation will also help with the Cyano>> Any help in resolving the sand bed issue once and for all for my setup would be greatly appreciated. <<I think a 4"-6" sugar-fine DSB to be a worthwhile addition.  As for the wet-dry, you might try replacing the bio-balls with fist-sized pieces of live rock and see if that helps with your nitrate.  Adding some carbon/Poly-Filter somewhere in the filter path will also prove beneficial>> I want to do the best I can for my fish and make it as healthy in there as I can for them. <<Then address/determine the source of nitrate and bring that reading down.  Do have a look here and among the links in blue at the top of the page:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm >> You have such an awesome website and I read it often. <<We're pleased you find it of use>> Thanks so much for all your help. Heather <<Happy to assist.  Regards, EricR>>

Re: DSB/Wet-Dry/Nitrates - 08/31/06 Thanks Eric for all your great advice so far. <<Is my pleasure>> I did add a Poly-Filter. <<Always beneficial>> I change my carbon monthly and I clean out my filter pad as well as protein skimmer at least every other day. <<Excellent>> I was all set to order 150 pounds or so of sand when I decided first to take your advice and try another nitrate testing kit. <<A good move...and the cheaper route no doubt>> I bought the one the LFS had which was SeaTest and got a reading of 10 or less while the Red Sea by Marine Lab reads at least 50. <<Mmm...>> How can there be such a discrepancy? <<Many reasons my friend...differences in quality/age of reagents, contamination, inaccuracy of the gauge/scale/benchmark...even human error <grin> >> It seems odd that two tests can be so far apart. <<Is advisable to keep fresh test kits of good quality (Hach, LaMotte, Salifert, or Seachem...to name some of the better ones available)>> It makes me angry after spending so much money on my setup and continually trying to find ways to bring my supposedly high nitrates down.  Which test should I believe? <<I'm inclined to believe the SeaTest over the Red Sea kit>> I prefer my shallow sand bed and would rather not add 4-inches or more to it if my nitrates are under control. <<Indeed, maybe you don't need the extra denitrification the DSB would offer after all>> I plan on this being mostly fish therefore the bioload will be higher than a reef tank and I worry that in the long run the DSB might not be best for a FOWLR tank. <<The DSB would be fine...though a fluidized-bed filter will react more quickly to fluctuating bioloads and is likely cheaper and easier to install>> I will remove the bioballs and put LR in the wet/dry like you suggested.  I appreciate all your help. <<Happy to assist>> I now have a dumb newbie question. <<Ok>> You mentioned that I might want to increase the flow to my tank. <<Yes>> My 220 has two overflow boxes predrilled and I have a Blueline 40HDX pump which I was told was more than sufficient for my tank. <<Mmm, about 1200 gph "before" head loss..."sufficient" for feeding the sump yes, but not likely to provide "sufficient" flow/elimination of dead-spots/suspension of detritus...in my opinion>> However I don't think it pumps your recommended 10-20 times per gallons. <<Likely not even 5x your tank volume, after head loss>> How would I add more flow to this system without it looking ugly? <<Perhaps addition of a couple Tunze Stream pumps, or a "closed-loop" with a multi-nozzle return manifold (see here and the links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pbretfaq3.htm  and   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/circmarart.htm >> I know this is a stupid question and probably very basic but I'm not really sure how to go about increasing the flow. <<Not stupid, and not always "basic", but do read the link/links provided and learn/choose your options.  Get some ideas of what you want to do and come back to bounce them off me if you wish>> I do have a deep tank at 30 inches and some Cyano on the sand.  It is also only 8 months old and I don't know if this is a phase or something I should address? <<If your only source of water flow is your sump return, increased water circulation may indeed help>> Thanks for all your great advice. <<Always welcome>> I don't trust my LFS very much because when I told them I thought my nitrates were around 50 they said I was crazy to worry as their fish only setups have nitrates of over 300. <<Mmm, well...while it's true that in most FO/FOWLR systems Nitrates "alone" may be no real worry, 300ppm will certainly cause harm.  The fact this store claims no ill effect is largely due to the "transient" nature of the livestock ...though their customers are likely not so lucky do to the harm/further insult to health imposed by this store on their livestock with this kind of water quality.  In my opinion, it is irresponsible (and probably just plain laziness/ignorance) to subject the livestock to these nitrate levels no matter how long the duration, and even more irresponsible to advise customers that this is "OK">> They seem to think I'm a bit crazy and that I overreact and worry too much about my fish. << (sigh)  Maybe it's time to find another LFS...>> That is why and how I found your site and am a true fan. <<Yay!>> Thanks! Heather <<Be chatting, Eric Russell>>

Re: DSB/Wet-Dry/Nitrates - 09/01/06 Hi Eric! <<Hello Heather!>> I think I'm becoming your groupie. <<Hee-hee!  Cool, I think you're my first!>> Thanks so much for your speedy reply. I was shocked how fast you wrote back. <<A matter of timing/luck for the most part>> And it's nice to converse with someone who cares about this hobby and doesn't roll their eyes at me when I ask too many questions. <<Mmm, indeed...too bad your LFS doesn't see the value in education/keeping their customers in the hobby...or maybe they just don't have the capacity re>> (Well maybe you are but I can't see it at least like at my LFS) <<Ha!  I'll never tell! (and spoil my image <grin>)>> I've been reading and am considering the Tunze Turbelle Stream pump. <<An excellent choice...I use these for water movement in my own system>> It's around $190. <<Not cheap, but excellent quality/engineering/performance>> Is it all inclusive or do I need to buy anything else with it? <<Based on the price I'm guessing you're looking at the model 6080?  This is a synchronous-motor pump (does not run on a controller/wavemaker) and is ready to go out of the box.  But, depending on your tank design/bracing, you may need one of the holding device extensions (3000.244 or 3000.260).  These should be available on the site where you purchase the pump (if not, they can be found at MarineDepot.com), just review the information on each and determine which is needed (if any) for your tank>> The internet stores don't really say much but they talked about timers and wave controllers.  Is any of that necessary? <<No...and not possible with some pumps/powerheads>> Where is the best place to put it in the aquarium? <<Hmm...distal from the sump return line...and positioned toward same for creation of a random turbulent flow pattern>> Would one be good since it says it pumps about 2250 gph on top of my 1200 gph I'm already getting? <<If this creates enough water movement to keep detritus in suspension/eliminate dead spots, yes...will likely take a bit of experimentation to determine the optimum position (or number of powerheads required)>> I have a feeling that more gph would definitely help with the Cyano. <<Me too, though other factors to consider as well.  Have you read our articles/FAQs on blue-green alga?  Here's a good place to start: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm>> I always worried 5X wasn't enough flow but again my LFS disagreed with me. <<You must evaluate the needs/requirements of the livestock, but it is likely an increase in flow will be appreciated...even "enjoyed">> I'm trying to find another LFS but I live in Melbourne Beach Florida and unless I want to drive 90 minutes there are only 2 close by.  I'm not too happy with either. <<I see...best to arm yourself with "your own" knowledge/research>> You were right about the 300 ppm nitrates hurting fish.  When I sat down and worked out where all my fish losses were from, they were all from that store. <<Indeed...as if the stresses of capture/transport weren't enough already...>> I think I lost 8 out of 10 of the fish purchased there for a loss of about $500. <<a pity>> All my other fish purchased elsewhere have done fine. <<Hardly a scientific analysis...but does seem rather telling>> I guess they only care about the bottom line. <<Unfortunately there are stores out there with kind of short-sightedness>> Neither store carries live rock and the store that did and had a conscientious owner (shocking), went out of business. <<...why does it always have to be the good one's...?>> Do you recommend any internet sites for quality cured rock? <<Some of the members of my local reef club have been raving lately about the rock offered at Reefermadness.us >> I guess that is it for now.  I'd like to purchase a quality pump that gives good gph and add some more LR and see how that goes. <<Sounds fine>> I read the links you sent me as well as Anthony's report on pumps and like the Tunze like you suggested. <<You won't be disappointed>> Thanks so much! Heather <<Cheers my friend, Eric Russell>> Hair algae from wet/dry 2/5/04  Hello,  I have a 55 gal reef tank that has been set up for about 14 months. I have a wet/dry with one layer of bio-balls and some nylon mesh below about four inches of crushed coral as a medium. I have a Turboflotor skimmer and currently have mesh bags of carbon, Phosban and Purigen as chemical filtration. Additional mechanical filtration comes from my pre-filter and filter pad on the drip plate. I have about 80 lbs of live rock and 50 lbs of live sand. There is a striped cardinal fish and a royal Gramma. I also have two banded coral shrimp, two lettuce Nudibranchs, a few Mithrax, blue leg and scarlet hermits, misc. snails and two Caribbean starfish. There are two ivory corals, two bubbles, a Galaxea, a pagoda, a cup, a pipe organ, a gorgonian, a long tentacle plate, some zoanthid polyps, pulsing xenia, three flower anemones, and two yellow tree sponges. The problem is that I have had a hair algae infestation for about the last 6 months. I do water changes of about 10-15 gallons 3 to 4 times a month. I recently removed each individual rock and scrubbed the algae off. I knew this to be a temporary fix, but figured if I stayed on top of the water changes that I would keep nutrient levels low enough that it wouldn't get the upper hand again. It is coming back thick as ever and I don't know what to do next. Water parameters are as follows: Ammonia <0.01 mg/l, Nitrate 1<5 mg/l, Nitrite 0.02<0.05 mg/l, PH 8.2, Alkalinity 9 dKH, sp. grav. 1.024, and temp 80. I am beginning to think that the crushed coral is building up nitrogen that the algae is binding so it is hardly detectable. I would think that the Phosban is removing any phosphates.  <I agree with your assessment that the algae is taking up the nutrients as fast as they are introduced. See comments below about your filtration set up.>  My question is: Do you think that my filter medium is the primary cause of the problem, and if so what should I do to fix it?  <I do think it is a major contributing factor. The highly aerobic nature of a wet dry favors the accumulation of nitrate, and unless you maintain them meticulously, filter pads accumulate detritus. Detritus in filter pads rots instead of being re-processed.>  I have a refugium in my garage that I have considered adding to the system. Do you think that my current filtration should be removed altogether and replaced with the refugium?  <I would definitely remove your current mechanical filtration/wet-dry set up. They are not necessary with the amount of live rock you have and are certainly contributing to your problem. When removing the wet/dry, remove each component (filter pads, bio balls, gravel) one at a time, about a week apart so that the bacteria in the live rock can increase to handle the load. While doing this, please monitor water quality and continue water changes. I am a fan of refugia, and it would probably be beneficial.>  One last note, my Turboflotor doesn't seem to pull all that much gunk out. It does good after I clean it which is about once a month. Do I have to step up the maintenance on the skimmer?  <If it works best after cleaning, you may want to do so more often. Also be sure that the air inlet tube is kept free of salt build up (letting it suck up some hot fresh water occasionally helps a lot). If working properly, a Turboflotor should be a very appropriate skimmer for a 55.>  Thank you very much for your time and any input. Sincerely, Quinn Whitten <Always a great pleasure! Adam>

Re: Tap Water, high nitrates is this my wet-dry filter? 1/26/04 Thanks very much for the advice,  my skimmer (with some adjustment)  is  turning out a very nice dark green yuck.  As to the live rock, I am going to buy on line from one of the places recommended from this site.  I live outside of Buffalo, NY, <I have visited two local stores in the Tonowandas.  I am very much in favor of supporting locals and one of these guys is probably equally capable of supplying your needs.  Do try negotiating with them to buy entire unopened boxes of rock, most store will offer a significant discount for this.> the water here is very, very hard.  I use a Type I DI water (reagent grade) and RO water from the LFS, and tap water.  I did 2 very large water changes, which did indeed drop the Nitrate level, still not as low as I want <Unless your water contains other objectionables, you may want to forgo RO or DI in favor of free Ca and Alk supplementation from your tap water.  If you feel that purification is important, RO may be better since you will exhaust DI cartridges very quickly.> .... so on my wish list is the live rock, which I should be getting very soon. <Be sure to cure VERY thoroughly before placing in an existing system to prevent repeat cycling.> As to the Nori seaweed, yes my domestic cat LOVES it, she comes as soon as she  hears me open the bag.  I have another question in my learning saga.  What is  a fresh water dip???  I see it mentioned all the time, I am guessing that  this is indeed fresh water (without salt), I am guessing that the temp. would  have to be on par with my tank, but what else??? <Weird cat.  Good question.  See here for lots of info on dips and other disease treatments: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm > I teach students part time...I teach them the instruments that we use at a hospital, this would be chemistry analyzers, hematology etc....I have found that my fingers and brain do things so automatically that when I have to "explain" things to my students I find that I must now also "think" what I am doing.  The very, very basic principles  which are now longer basic to the user who has been doing these things for over 20 years, and darn it, it is HARD. <Small world!  I work in open heart surgery. Running blood gasses, etc. all the time.  I definitely understand what you mean about becoming so comfortable with a topic and discussing it with others who are too that you forget that not everyone has the same comfort level.  Thanks for bringing that to the front of my mind for the purposes of answering these crew questions!> So to a very new marine non-expert, what exactly is a fresh water dip, in what kind of container, with how much, or  little water, heated, etc.? <Much too much to cover here, and it is presented better in the link above than I could ever hope to do.  Please don't be intimidated, though.  A proper FW dip is easy and quite beneficial for certain maladies.> I ask, because my new surprise is the possibility of  ick for my maroon clownfish.  Which I never quarantined, which I now have a QT tank, he had a very large disagreement with my other larger clown over the  anemone, (which is now gone as it drifted into my uptake on my power filter.....) he lost with some damage to his side fin.  Several weeks later, his fins  are all becoming ragged and I see, I think small white spots around his head. <Keeping anemones should be reserved for more experienced aquarists.  They have dismal survival rates, and as you learned must be protected from pumps, filters, heaters, etc.  I will also assume you have learned your lesson concerning quarantine.  Clowns can be quite aggressive.  It is best to introduce them at the same time and to have a significant size mis-match so one will immediately submit to the other.  Your clown probably has fin rot and possibly Brooklynella.  Ich is possible too.  You will find lots of info in the FAQ's.  Good ID of the disease is critical to successful treatment.> Once the anemone was gone the clowns became more aggressive.  I have a picture on my cam, that I am taking to my LFS (not too local as it is a 45 minute drive).  I am setting up my QT tank now...  I see lots of answers to my questions over the QT but can you tell me how to go about doing the fresh water dip?  I also bought today SeaChem Cupramine, not treating anything until I am sure what I have, nor did this fish store have a kit for testing the Cu+.  Sorry for the additional questions, have been online for many hours last night and tonight trying to find out some of these questions. <Do ID the disease before applying copper.  I consider copper to be a last resort medication and it can be particularly hard on some clowns.  In addition to any other treatment, I strongly favor hyposalinity in quarantine.  Over a period of several days, lower the salinity to 1.012-1.014 and hold for two-three weeks.  This can be done in addition to any medication and/or freshwater dip.> THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all the help and such a great site!  Without this site, I would have made  so many more mistakes then the ones I have already made.<Glad you have found WWM to be of benefit!  Please do let us know if we can be of any more help!  Adam>

- Wet/Dry Clarification - J- Thank you for your quick response to my questions, but I am confused with some of your suggestions.  I hope you don't mind another battery of questions. {smile} Why would a wet/dry system INCREASE the need for water changes?  I know that biological filtration produces nitrates, but they are better for the fish than the nitrites. <Uhh, not really... nitrates are not toxic as nitrite and ammonia, but their accumulation to high levels will present as much a problem as anything else.> By the way, something I didn't include in my earlier email was that I will also be using mechanical filtration prior to the bio media, with carbon after the bio.  Sorry, I just left that as a given. <Makes no difference with this part of the discussion... wet/dry filters produce nitrates in bulk - mechanical filtration, carbon will not address this issue.> And why would a totally submerged bio system be better than a wet/dry? <Because the exposure to oxygen in the air is what makes the wet/dry filter so efficient at producing nitrates. Submerging the bioballs would counteract the dry part of the wet/dry filter but still provide a medium for the de-nitrifying bacteria to live on.> Or are you talking about a De-nitrification Filter? <No.> I've only recently heard of these and only in reference to saltwater systems.  Do they work in Freshwater? <Have no experience with this... couldn't tell you.> And I understand that the more bio filtration the better, but I'm trying to get an idea of "the norm" so to speak. That way I won't be making it more complicated than necessary.  I'm just trying to get a ball park of the low end needed.  I mean, is it a cubic foot of bio-balls, or 5? <I am aware of no formula for calculating such things.> I'm simply limited on space by attaching it to the back of the tank. <All the more reason to consider live rock.> One reason I assumed bio-wheels were more efficient than bio-balls was how much smaller the wheeled versions tended to be for the same size tank. <Do believe that's what they want you to think, but not certain this is so...> For example, there is the "Tidepool" wet/dry system.  It simply has one large wheel, as compared to a cubic foot or more of bio-balls. <Perhaps, but I'd be willing to bet the overall surface area is about the same.> If the wheels are that much more efficient, it would make sense to go with the wheels, especially given my space limits. <Uhh... it's still a wet/dry and in my opinion something to be avoided.> I appreciate your concerns on DIY, but I enjoy the challenge and it's a labor of love.  And I want it to fit the stand I spent so much time designing and building.  I liked the Prairie Style design so much, I'm making matching end tables and TV stands. (I guess it's the designer in me). Besides, I'm limited on how much I can spend and the $ saved means there's that much more available for buying more fish anyway! Hah ha <Well... do figure out what your time is worth... what you make at your day job... once you add this time up, you may find that the price of outright purchase is more worthwhile, warranted, and with proven design.> Thank you AGAIN for any help you can give.  Have a great day. Jim <Cheers, J -- >

Moving Filter Media Hello WWM Crew, <Hi! Ryan Bowen with you>     I have a problem I'm hoping you can help. <Do my best> I have a large wet/dry on a 180 gallon tank.  The fish are 1 yellow tang, 1 Foxface, 1 (5") lionfish, 1 (10") puffer, 1 (10") panther grouper.  The problem is that one of the lower tray that holds the bio-balls has collapsed.  Little by little bio-balls are escaping and getting sucked into the pump so I have to remove them. <Yikes.  Replace them with live rock?>     My question is how do I install a new wet/dry?  There is no room underneath the stand for two large wet/dries. I tried just adding one on and eventually overtime remove the bio-balls of the old filter so the bacteria would have to colonize on the new filter, but that didn't work out...  One filter in low on water the other is high, make some adjustments and vice versa I sure you know what I mean. <I'd remove all the bio-balls from the first filter, place them in a clean bucket, then hook up the new filter.  Use the bio-balls from your old filter in place of the new bio-balls, and the bacteria should be able to keep up.  But please, get some water ready for a water change if need be.  Good luck! http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm> What should I do? Thank a lot, Melissa

Wet/Dry Filters/Cleaning I have recently purchased a 125 gallon reef tank and it came with a Aqua Clear Aquatics 200 wet/dry filter. My question is, do you clean the bio balls and sponge? If so, how often do I clean both? Also there are particles of brown stuff building up in the area where the pump pumps out the water, should I clean out the whole system?  <Robert, you do not clean the bio-balls as that is where the denitrifying bacteria will be growing. The pre-filter sponge should be cleaned weekly. The brown "stuff" is either diatoms or rust. If it looks like it is around the screws that fasten the impeller housing to the body, it is rust and the grade of stainless screws being used isn't up to par. Here is a link to wet/dry FAQ's that may answer any future questions you may have about wet/dries. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wetdryfaqs.htm  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you  <You're welcome> 

Biological filtration I have a standard wet/dry sump on a 75-gallon FOWLR marine tank. I have my Wavemaster Pro set to run the main pump which allows a timed feeding cycle of 30-minutes. This being a great feature since most of my deposited food floats for the at least a couple of minutes as the fish and invertebrates slowly start to eat it, without the pump off my overflow quickly cleans up the food moving it to the mechanical filter very fast.  My question is, during the feeding cycle of 30-minutes the wet/dry filters biological media is covered totally underwater (as opposed to "being dripped on") since the sump pump is off and the water level decreases temporarily in the main tank. Is this hurting my bacteria colonies on the substrate in the wet/dry chamber by having it "oxygen deprived" for a short period of time twice a day? Appreciate your time in reading this, I truly hope its a unique question, I tried all the keywords I could find to make sure it was not answered yet in the wet/dry and bioballs sections.  <Phil my friend, you have no worries. James (Salty Dog)> 

High nitrates with a wet-dry? Of course! - 8/13/05   Hi there,   <Howdy, Ali here>   I have enjoyed your website and reading through all the advice. I've told everybody even the LFS. But despite all the reading I wanted to see if  you can help me with my situation. <Sure> I have: 29gal. mini reef 30"x12"x18", approx. 52 lbs. Live rock, 30lbs.  live sand,  Coralife PC one 65watt 10,000K daylight and one 65watt  actinic, ProClear Aquatic System 125 wet/dry with 266 Bioballs in Biotower, CA  2200 return pump at 685gph, Aqualine motorized protein skimmer in sump. Two  Lifetech powerheads 295gph each on timer one for 6hrs in one direction then the  other in opposite direction for 6hrs and so on. <I'd keep your powerheads on simultaneously and take them off of the wavemaker device.> Adding Kent marine's Essential Elements, Tech-I, and Purple-up according to directions on each bottle. <All are unnecessary. A good two-part calcium/alk. supplement would be all you truely need. B-ionic or C-Balance, do a search on these.> temp. avg 78,  LFS tested water parameters and all was where it  should be except for NITRATES >200ppm said one LFS. So I was told to do a  water change and I did a 30% water change. Next day LFS tested water and  this time Nitrates where at about 40ppm. Did another 30% water change and I  tested my water for nitrates and still high>40ppm. I was also told to siphon  the sand which I did before the water change. LFS said that it could be the  Bioball sand advised to take some out but you guys have said to remove them  all out slowly and replace with LR. <Unfortunately my friend, you have been receiving bad advice from your LFS. This is not uncommon so please don't feel singled out.> Livestock: 1 Pair of (not mated) Gold Stripe maroon clownfish one  is 1.5" the other approx 3", <Not a good choice for this size tank. A healthy pair of clownfish do make for a really pretty, calming yet humorous display. Unfortunately, the maroons not only get big - but very aggressive. Look into a pair of A. percula, A. ocellaris or some neat skunks.> 1 diamond watch goby, 2 Brown colored BTA purchased together because both were and still are occupying the same rock so I bought the rock and the Anemones. Clowns have gone into anemone and enjoy it. 1 blood shrimp. I have read the articles and seen the FAQs but concerned for my tank crashing with the high nitrates. <Unless you enjoy doing daily water changes, remove the wet-dry system ASAP. Look into doing a tank renovation, with a 3" fine grade aragonite sandbed layer (CaribSea Aragamax Select works perfect for this, and given your tank dimensions 1 x 30 pound bag should get the job done.) Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/reef2.htm  >   I have read about turning the wet/dry to a sump Refu. but not sure how to do it with the DSB and the pump in there as well as where to place the live rocks with this kind of "generic" or  "standard" wet/dry? And how do I position the light for the LR and the  DSB in the wet/dry because at the top of the Bio tower is where the water  from the tank comes in? <With a little creativity, you can make all this work Felix. If that is not possible, consider removing the entire wet-dry filter unit and purchasing a standard Berlin style sump or utilizing an empty aquarium.> If I make a DSB in the sump would I still need to siphon  that sand as well? <No need to do this Felix> Also the bottom of the wet/dry has white spots or fuzz  along the walls. <These are harmless critters. Don't worry about them. :) > Sorry about the length but I wanted to make sure I gave as much information as possible. Please let me know what my next course of action should be. If left  any missing info please let me know so I may provide it for you. Thank you so much for your time and keep up the good work thank you Felix <Good luck and make sure you read the provided links Felix, all of the set-up, filtration, sandbed, answers you are looking for are thoroughly explained. - Ali>

Moving Wet/Dry Filter  9/2/05 Hi, <Kia ora, Good health!> I will be moving my fish only tank to a new location in Nov. It has a wet/dry filter with a protein skimmer. The tank will be down for approx. 4 hours. I know the beneficial bacteria in the filter has  a short lifespan (I believe they start dying within 2 hours of  stopping the water circulation) <Mmm, slow down... but if they're kept moist, some air exposure... no problems> and would like to know the best way to try and  preserve the bio balls during the move to help prevent any problems with the  tank recycling at the new location. <Cover the filter itself with a moist towel... freshwater or marine... drain the water out of the filter itself...> I've moved the aquarium before when I only had a Fluval filter  and didn't have any problems with recycling, maybe because it  is a closed filter. I just would like your advise to be on  the safe side. Hopefully this move will be just as easy. Thanks,     Rich Aylward <I hope so too. Bob Fenner> Oxygen In The Wet Dry - 09/30/05 Thanking you all so much for all your answers to my son's questions... ( he's been e-mailing you under my name - he's actually only 13 and just starting his aquarium!) <<Ah!...a pleasure...>> In reference to the towel over the wet/dry filtration system... we of course would be blocking a lot of space where air would normally be available to this area but would not block all air and a towel is also quite "breathable" - the idea is to lesson the noise not block O2 from getting in and around the system. <<agreed>> I've also thought recently of putting up some foam pieces behind the filtration area in the back of the "cabinet" which the tank sits upon so the noise does NOT filter up along the back of it all against the wall... does this sound feasible? <<Quite...you might also consider putting some type of damping material "under' the filter.>> Yours in under water dreams, Clare B. <<Take care my friend... EricR>>

Noisy Wet/Dry - 09/29/05 Hey crew, <<Hey Clare!>> I have a 75 gallon SW tank, and it is an older model, and makes a whole lot of noise <<?>>.  I have a wet dry filter<<Ah, yes...can be very noisy.>> (125 capacity) and we decided to put a towel over the wet dry filter, this really helped with the noise. I was just wondering if this was OK to cover the filter or if you see any problems with it? <<Mmm, interesting question... But as long as you're not blocking air/oxygen from entering the filter (else, I'm sure you are already aware, you defeat the purpose of the wet/dry), using the towel to dampen noise shouldn't be a problem.>> Thanks, Clare <<Welcome, EricR>>

Eheim WD Filters Hi I recently bought an EHEIM wet&dry 2227 filter and I don't know if its working right ! I filled the baskets with EHFISUBSTRAT PRO ( Eheim says : " All filter baskets must be filled with EHFISUBSTRAT up to the rim " ) and then I put the white sponge filter on top (the one for 2227) and then filled the filter with water by sucking air through the small breathing tube. The suction valve was open and the pressure valve was closed at that time. I start running the filter and after a while water was flowing out slowly and from the other side it was filling with water. The filter makes strange noises as if water is flowing inside and its very annoying. It sounds more like a vacuum cleaner !!! <This is the air and water mixing in and about the pump impeller... a good idea to turn the unit off, let the water rise in the volute (the space around the impeller), then turn it back on... doing this a few times should clear the air out entirely, and make the unit very quiet> I checked everything (hoses tight, if there are any bends to the tube, if the baskets fit well) and it seems that there is not a problem. I use another EHEIM filter (2217) and its completely quiet and noiseless ! Another thing that bothers me is that water comes out constantly and I don't see any changes in the pressure. <Once again, this is due to the cavitation, the air and water mixing together... once you get the air out of the volute, you'll see> From what I know in these filters the outlet pressure varies. There is a wet&dry cycle that constantly goes on and the outlet pressure varies during this cycle. I don't know if I explained well my problem but first of all I want to know why it makes these weird sounds and second if the filter works properly. Thank you in advance for your help. George K. <A very common situation... and one that can/will be solved with the simple protocol mentioned. Bob Fenner>

Eheim Wet-Dry Unit... more than cavitation at play Thank you for your reply. <You're welcome> When I turn it off and back on again I get a very loud noise and the motor gets very heated. <Not good... leave unplugged till it cools down... and until we discover the cause of the problem> I left it like that and the filter stopped by itself...maybe for the motor to cool down a little. I took the impeller off and it was very hot ! <Was there anything caught around the impeller spindle? Do check for a minute piece of filter media> When I turn it off the floater goes up all the way then after a while and after the loud noise stops it starts emptying and the pressure is very high till it drops to a constant low water flow. <Ahhh, perhaps there is a good kink in a line (either intake or discharge. Try this: Check both loops to ascertain whether there is a kink that is limiting water flow, and take the discharge line off, place in a bucket (all this with the pump turned off), to determine as well if there isn't either a twist, kink in the line or some other area of internal blockage. If the water does not flow freely (siphoning from the intake line, through the unit, into your bucket via the discharge line), do take the whole unit off the tank, dis-assemble it in a sink or tub, and check for blockage in the unit, lines there> Then the floater goes all the way down and NEVER goes up again ! <I suspect either a "good" air gap in a line, or a blockage inside the unit> Then the wet-dry cycle doesn't come back again as it should be and it keeps working like that! (I changed all the o-rings with new ones-I was told that maybe this was the problem). <Shouldn't have anything to do with the problem... the o-rings either work and the unit doesn't leak... or...> Help ... I am so confused! Thank you, George <Please read through the above. Have you been to Eheim's website? http://www.eheim.com/ Bob Fenner>

Tiny Bubbles...Big Headaches! Hello, <Scott F here tonight!> I am in the process of setting up a 155 gallon bow tank.  My filtration system is a Aqua Clear Model 200 with prefilter wet dry box. My problem is that when the water drops down over the bio balls it's creating a large amount of fine bubbles. The white sponge that is supposed to catch the bubbles does not seem to be working. Then my pumps pull these bubbles back into the tank, causing an unclear tank.  Do you have any suggestions?   Thank-you Shawn       <I'd try to create a little "baffle", by arranging some acrylic pieces (squares the width of the sump) inside the sump compartment after the Bioball area. Hopefully, by the time the water passes over these "baffles", the majority of the bubbles will be eliminated. Give it a try! It's worked for me! Good luck!>

Wet Dry Filter I was wondering if you can help? I just recently started my saltwater tank back up and I'm using a wet dry system that I got from a buddy of mine. I'm not sure if it's working correctly the siphon is good and it's pumping well but it seems to be holding more water than I think it should be holding. Its over 3/4 full. The more water I add to the tank the more it fills up. It has 2 siphon tubes and probably a 1/2 in to 1 inch return hose. If you can help or refer me to someone who can I will be very grateful (55gallon tank. corner filter, and a hanging filter to go along with the wet dry. <These sumps are meant to run at a constant level to be determined by the pump and water level desired. This system may simply require less water.  Hope this helps, Craig>

Clogged wet/dry sponge Hi, I have a 100 gallon Uniquarium that was in my office for 5 years and serviced by a local shop.  I have recently shut down the office and brought the tank home.  After a few weeks of having the same shop service it, I began to care for it myself as they were charging me an arm and a leg due to my home being a bit far away for them.  Recently, the tank has much more water in it than it should and it seems that the chamber with the bio balls is a little low.  Additionally, the chamber to the far left is full to overflowing. <hmm.. maybe a sponge is clogged. I would purchase a new sponge or just clean out the old one. also the tubing could be clogged> I don't know EXACTLY how the water flows through this system, but I suspect that there is a clog between the left most chamber and the one directly adjacent to it.<yes, I believe it may be the sponge.>  Can you clear this mystery up for me?<just replace or clean out the sponge> Thanks Adam Anthony<Your welcome, IanB>

"Mulm" Bob- In my sump tank there is currently no live rock or Caulerpa, which will be placed in the sump shortly. But there is something "gathering" on the bottom. It is brownish/red. It does not seem to be a form of algae because it is not growing on the tank. It is in particle form, meaning that when it is disturbed by a different water flow it mixes all over the tank before it settles down. Do you know what this is? Should I siphon it out or just let it be? Thank you, Rob >> This is likely a mix of a bunch of things... organic and not, biological and just gunk... Sponges, algae, all sorts of microbes, worms, crustaceans.... and I would NOT remove it, unless it gets to be "too much".... And I would add some live rock and Caulerpa, and a continuous full spectrum light source... and you'll soon see why... Bob Fenner

Wet dry system with too much ammonia HELP Dear Mr. Fenner, We recently bought an 80 gallon freshwater setup from a lady who had used it for saltwater. We are using the wet dry filter with bio-balls, with a layer of floss on top of the bio-balls. We are having serious trouble bringing down the ammonia levels and were wondering if we should use some kind of media or charcoal on top of the bio-balls. We have a 55, a 29, and 10 gallon tanks as well, but this is our first wet dry system. Any help would be greatly appreciated as it is a beautiful set up and our fish are eyeballing it and then asking us when they get to move into their new home. Thank you, Carol and Mike <Just pull the bioballs... take them out and your system will cycle, settle in. This is all that's needed. Bob Fenner>

Wet-Dry Filter Hello Anthony! <greetings, Thanassis> I finally bought the wet-dry filter we have been discussing about. It is an EHEIM 2229 Wet-dry (circulation cap. 550 L/hour). This filter is proposed for larger aquariums (mine is only 200 lit) , but I thought that it would be nice to have this big size in case I upgrade to bigger tank in the future.  <very wise> On the other hand I have been told that it would be better to have it half-filled with filter media , since my present aquarium is much smaller than the capacity of this filter, otherwise it would built a too big number of bacteria colonies,  <not true... bacterial colonies only grow in size to the load put upon them> which would mean a "too much of biological action" in my aquarium and which is supposed to be bad for the water. I do not know if this can be correct. <not correct... I'd play it safe and fill it with media... better water flow through media that way too> I installed the filter and it is running properly. I filled all three canisters with sintered glass (EHFI Substrat) , which is recommended by EHEIM, but I filled just the half of each canister for the above reason.  <a very coarse foam block stuck onto the intake strainer (inside the tank) as a bulk prefilter often extends the life and cleanings of the media inside such external filters> I am running at the same time the already existing external filter , an EHEIM 2224, where I have the bioballs and Substrat and which has proved to be insufficient for my system, "modest" as you wrote, and may be the reason of often illnesses of my fishes. My dealer told me it would be better to run both filters at the same time forever, but what I am thinking is to run them both for two months and afterwards take out the material of the 2224 and put it in the wet-dry filter (both bioballs and Substrat). What would you advise? <the wet/dry filter is a better environment for biological media...agreed> Best regards, Thanassis <kindly, Anthony>

Wet-Dry filter & Oodinium!!!! Hello Anthony! <Cheers, again, Thanassis> "a very coarse foam block stuck onto the intake strainer (inside the tank) as a bulk prefilter often extends the life and cleanings of the media inside such external filters" Yes, this is exactly what EHEIM also recommends and is included in the package of the Wet-dry filter (I have it on already). They recommend to keep it on for 6 weeks and then take it out. I consider of cleaning it and put it back. <yes, agreed... I like to rinse and reuse it constantly> Well, whenever I realized that my fishes started to have Oodinium (especially the Blue Tang) I immediately treated it with OODINEX, an ESHA product, which is a light medication (can be used also to invertebrates) and the signs of the illness went away on the third day of the treatment. This time this is not the case. After a 4-day treatment with OODINEX the spots did not disappear, but on the contrary I realized today (it is the 4th day) that they have become more. I have a copper-based medication in my stock (the CUPRAZIN from Waterlife), <Actually... I do not feel that copper if effective at all on Amyloodinium (velvet). The parasite buries into the fish too deep to be killed by copper before the fish does! Formalin based products have been shown to be effective as well as consecutive daily dips (5-8).> afraid of a serous problem if I put CUPRAZIN inside it. but I afraid to use it, since OODINEX is still in my system. <Polyfilters will clear this promptly when that is the only concern> On the other hand I feel that I have no time to take the OODINEX out with my skimmer or carbon, because this would take at least two days, and it would be too late for my fishes.  <Overnight with the Polyfilters> I am thinking of taking the risk and put tomorrow morning CUPRAZIN, because otherwise I could lose my fishes.  <still... I don't think this will be very effective... better off to do aggressive freshwater dips> In the instructions of OODINEX it is only mentioned that it should not be used at the same time with any other treatment, but there is no indication for waiting two or more days in order to make another treatment. <indeed...most medications do not stay in solution for even a few days> Do you have any experience with the above medicines? What should I do? Perhaps by the time I receive your answer I may have already taken some action on this (now it is 02.32 a.m.), but still I would like to have your advice. Thanks and best regards, Thanassis <best regards, Anthony... PS. I recently sold one of my books through Amazon.com to an aquarist in Cyprus. Is that close to you?>

Wet/Dry Prefilter I just added a Rio 2500 & an inline chiller to my 125 gallon FO tank that already has a Rio 4100 pushing the circulation. Here's my problem, the wet/dry can't handle the water returning through the two returns & starts to overflow above the filter floss. As a partial fix I replaced the old floss (that was used for about 2 months) <Way too long to go without replacing. I replace all prefilters at least monthly, if not every other week.> & the water is flowing fine. I am considering drilling about twice the number of holes in the lid just below the filter floss to allow for a higher flow rate inside the wet/dry. What's your take on this? <If you keep your prefilter cleaned, you will probably need to take no further action. -Steven Pro>

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